Outdoors

Area, State fishing report (Oct. 12)

Estuary

Look for | Red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, black drum, sheepshead, spots.

Comments | Capt. Mark Dickson of Shallow Minded Inshore Charters has spend the majority of this week drifting live bait for large red drum in the vicinity of the Little River jetties. Dickson has averaged about 6 to 10 bull reds a trip, plus has had the occasional flounder by-catch including a 5-pounder. Dickson notes spotted seatrout are biting in the Intracoastal Waterway near creek drains. Capt. Mike McDonald of Gul-R-Boy Guide Service has also been targeting the bull reds for catch-and-release adventures. On Tuesday, McDonald released six large reds and also produced 10 trout. McDonald noted a water temperature of 71 degrees Thursday afternoon in North Inlet, near the ocean. Windy weather in the wake of the cold front has made fishing local jetties an adventure. Tom Craddock of Inlet Convenience and Fishing Supplies reports the big reds are also biting at the Murrells Inlet jetties, along with sheepshead. Smaller reds within the 15 to 23 inch slot limit can be found in the creeks. A few spots have been caught in the inlet, but not in big numbers yet.

Inshore

Look for | Spanish mackerel, bluefish, whiting, flounder, king mackerel, black sea bass, black drum, pompano, sheepshead, weakfish.

Comments | After a long drought, king mackerel catches have been very good off Grand Strand piers over the last week with most fish weighing over 20 pounds. The Cherry Grove Pier has produced nine kings over the last week including three weighing 29, 27 and 22 pounds caught on Thursday. Rick Gaston of Little River landed the largest, a 32-pound, 8-ounce fish. Six kings have been caught off Apache Pier since Saturday including a 34-pound, 8-ounce fish landed by local angler Steve Pugh. Obviously, the time is right to catch kings near the beach, by pier or boat. Apache Pier also reports a 6-pound, one-ounce Spanish was caught this week. Other species being landed from the piers include whiting, pompano, flounder, black drum, bluefish, sheepshead and weakfish. Catches remain slow for that staple of fall pier fishing – spots. Spanish, flounder and weakfish can be found on near-shore artificial reefs, with kings also a very good possibility. The time is right for weakfish, which have a one per person daily bag limit and a 12-inch minimum size limit, to show up on near-shore hard-bottom areas. The recreational black sea bass fishery is closed until June 1, 2013. The surface ocean water temperature at Cherry Grove Pier was 74.27 degrees Thursday at 3 p.m., a drop of about four degrees from a week ago.

Offshore

Look for | King mackerel, wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin, sailfish, grouper, vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish.

Comments | Catches of kings are good for the fall fishing season, with wahoo, blackfin tuna, dolphin and sailfish all in the mix. Bottom fishing anglers can expect to find vermilion snapper, grouper, triggerfish, porgy and amberjack. A long closure of shallow water grouper will go into effect on Oct. 20 for commercial fishermen. The commercial grouper fishery will not re-open until May 1, 2013. The recreational shallow-water grouper fishery will be closed on Jan. 1, 2013 and won’t re-open until May 1, 2013.

Freshwater

Look for | Bream, bass, catfish, crappie.

Comments | “The cooler weather’s not hurt them at all,” said Jay Booth of Fishermen’s Headquarters in Conway, who noted a water temperature of 75 degrees Wednesday at Bucksport. Bream, morgans and shellcracker remain in 2-3 feet of water hitting crickets and worms. Top areas this week have been Bucksport, Yauhannah and Samworth. Catfish action is fair to good on cut or live bait while crappie action continues to improve with fish hitting minnows. Bass catches have been good on shiners. Don McCloud of Conway won the weekly bass tournament at Bucksport with an aggregate of 5.5 pounds for three fish. Orin Alford and Franklin Bessett of Conway landed 22 sizable bream at Jericho Creek at the Ricefields on Tuesday. While fishing for the bream, the duo landed a 17 1/2 inch red drum, which hit a red worm on a bream buster. Luke Cannon of Conway caught a limit of bream and shellcracker Sunday at Bucksport.

By Gregg Holshouser, For The Sun News

State fishing

Santee Cooper System | Crappie: Good to very good. Capt. Steve English reports that crappie fishing has been strong and fish are really ganged up on brushpiles. Fish are suspended in 7-18 feet of water around the tops of brushpiles in approximately 15-28 feet of water. Generally fish are about to 8-10 feet off the bottom (at the top of the brush) and they will usually eat minnows. Recently the upper lake has been better producing better than the lower lake with white crappie in the upper lake concentrated in tight schools. Largemouth bass: Slow. Capt. Jimmie Hair reports that bass fishing is very tough on Santee Cooper. As temperatures cool October fishing should improve and fish will make their way to the creeks. Catfish: Slow to fair. Capt. Jim Glenn reports that there is no real productive Santee Cooper catfish pattern to fish most of the time, and cooling water temperatures will have fish scattered until later in the winter. Quality catchable fish are not being caught with any regularity right now, but just recently Lake Marion seems to be producing slightly better numbers of quality fish. There is some indication - e.g., smaller fish showing up - that there have been a couple of successful spawns in the recent past. Channel catfish are being caught fairly frequently and can be found in a wide range of depths.

S.C. DNR

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